Loyalty VS Reality: What Influences Your Political Choices?


(Malaysian Digest) – “In proving their support, they become hypocritical by going against their principles, agreeing to what is ‘right’, even when it is blatantly wrong.”

Where does your loyalty stand? With your country, or a political party? Either answer would justify your stance.

As a promise to all Malaysians, the government has come up with slogans like, ‘Rakyat Didahulukan, Pencapaian Diutamakan’ or its English version ‘People First, Performance Now’, part of its effort that has long been practised to preserve and protect the interests of the people, and the country since the days of former Prime Ministers.

Indeed, every Prime Minister has their own ideas in running the country, yet the goal remains the same. But politics however comes into play, and that too, is nothing new.

Which is the party of your choice?

Which is the party of your choice?

Unity and diversity have always been the strength of Malaysia and its people. Maintaining this has been our best challenge yet. In saying which, the nation plays a crucial role in political scenarios especially with their votes in the General Election (GE) held every four years.

The current political state of Malaysia though, raises the question of where does the nation’s support lie? Are the hands that feed us also biting us?

Numerous beliefs and ideologies, be it for those in favour of the ruling party or the opposition, mentality and perception are drivers that put our country at stake. Like two sides of the coin, there are flipsides to everything. How would the future of out country be, especially for our youth, when politics becomes a barrier that always stands in our way?

With the advise of some political experts, we discuss how Malaysians are selecting their preferred political parties, whether based on their strong principles, or influences of their greater generations.

A Young Influencer

More and more youths these days strive for national building through political involvements. As the nation’s pride, political leadership in the younger generation has also garnered the support of youths to stand up for their beliefs and in voicing out their opinions, also in assessing their choice of political party. After all, the country’s new political landscape does depend on the emergence of the younger generation.

Dyana Sofya, female youth renown for her involvement in DAP - mD

Dyana Sofya, female youth renown for her involvement in DAP – mD

The Democratic Action Party (DAP) makes up one-third of the opposition pact, and had been fielding more Malay candidates to broaden its appeal among the country’s electoral majority. 28-year-old Dyana Sofya stands among them in the spotlight of the ‘Malaysian Malaysia’ party that constitutes solidarity to eliminate racial discriminations among Malaysians.

When a young Malay woman becomes a candidate of a ‘Chinese-centric’ party, questions point to the vindication of electoral, whether it is a good strategy to attract Malay electorates to be more receptive to change, or could it be for personal importance in gaining political stature?

“I want a better Malaysia, without any hypocrites and free from racial judgements, be it skin colour, race and religion as a barrier. I am like-minded, with high-spirits and determination to serve my country.

“I was impressed with the determination displayed by DAP leaders like the late Karpal Singh, and Lim Kit Siang. They never gave up working hard for decades without receiving any ‘personal gain’ in their struggles to make Malaysia a better place,” she tells Malaysian Digest.

Everyone knows that DAP and Malay rights group, PERKASA are not on good terms. Nevertheless, Dyana’s mother who once held a high position in PERKASA, is still very much supportive of her daughter.

“My mother was also once in the ‘Semangat 46’ party, so she understands the nature of being in the opposition party and has been very supportive of me. During the Teluk Intan elections, she was my constant supporter, despite our different political beliefs,” Dyana explains.

Is There A Perfect Political Ideology?

What Dyana finds most attractive in determining her support for a party is not only its strong formation, and its ambition in reforming the country, but most importantly the integrity of the leaders in the party itself.

“I was intrigued by the tireless fighting spirit of the DAP leaders who bared no personal interest and were always in favour of the nation. These traits only prove that one is sincere and strong in their beliefs. That’s why I’m drawn to contest for DAP.

“We are so used to having a divide and conquer policy that the nation has become hypocritical in nature with the likes of 1Malaysia and Malay supremacy groups that are irrelevant to a point that it leads to racism and hatred among one another.

“This is the very thing that triggers extremism − the fact that we are driven by generations that would only ‘obey’ populists and leaders, those who will never be able to rationalise between the good and the bad for our country.

Not all leftists are communists - mD

Not all leftists are communists – mD

“But we must always remember the spirit of unity and togetherness that the late Tunku Abdul Rahman has nurtured which led to our country’s independence. There was no extremism involved, only sheer unity and willingness displayed,” she added.

Dyana is also of the opinion that a generation that ‘obeys’ is not a healthy one.

“The nation plays a huge responsibility to educate one another in evaluating, making decisions and ultimately voicing out their opinions as a main driver and contributor for building the nation,” she stresses.

As a woman nationalist and feminist behind the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM), Shamsiah Fakeh was once called a communist for her ideologies and stance. It is only natural to wonder whether Dyana is also following the footsteps of this political predecessor.

“Well, DAP’s ideology is centre-left. We are social democrats. And if you look closely, our former Prime Minister, Tun Razak’s policy formulation reflected a centre-left ideology. Like the New Economic Programme (NEP), it was formulated to eradicate poverty to move towards social equality,” she said.

Leadership Is Key

Shahbudin Husin, former Federal Territory Umno Youth official and now a blogger who is widely followed, stressed how many people in this country are not realistic in showing support towards the leaders regardless of their actions, that it is becoming more of an obligation.

Former Federal Territory Umno Youth official and now blogger, Shahbudin Husin - mD

Former Federal Territory Umno Youth official and now blogger, Shahbudin Husin – mD

“Everyone’s so consumed with endless praising and showing extreme support that this has become a norm among our society.

“In my opinion, if a leader does something good, he should be commended for his efforts, and vice versa. There are reasons why they are elected as leaders, so the nation can look up to them. But when they are in the wrong, we have the right to criticise them, and point out their mistakes.

“Should we just sit down and watch our leaders make mistakes even if it involves ignoble acts like embracing a non-mahram woman, or being wasteful and reckless in their spendings?,” he posed the question.

He explained that not many Malaysians dare to rebuke their leaders’ mistakes, mainly those who lend their support for personal gratification. To a certain extent, in proving their support, they become hypocritical by going against their principles, agreeing to what is ‘right’, even when it is blatantly wrong.

“Most are stuck with a feudal mentality that none of them dare point the mistakes of leaders who are deemed to have ‘powerful’ positions in the government. They worry that in doing so, their careers or businesses would be in jeopardy.

“Voicing out your opinions would not lead to prosecution unless it is ruled as defamation. A lot of people say they love their party of choice, love the country and its nation. Yet, reality proves that people love their leaders more, it is almost as if these supporters were bribed to do so.

“Truth is, we have opted to support many leaders based on personal interest and of the party’s, but never for the right reasons or for the sake of our country,” he shared.

Will Najib be able to win the nation's votes in the next GE? - mD

Will Najib be able to win the nation’s votes in the next GE? – mD

In assessing the views of Dyana and Shahbudin, it is apparent that leadership is an essential influence in shaping a country and reflecting the political party itself. The more crucial part moving forward is getting the younger generation to be involved in the noble struggle of politics, as they are the determining factor in future elections.

It’s true, there can never be a perfect government, be it for those supporting the ruling or opposition party, and even those without any stance. However, let us be reminded that our nation can always be ruled by constructive arguments, void of irrational criticisms.